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Patty Melt with Secret Sauce

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Get ready to sink your teeth into the most craveworthy Patty Melts you’ve ever tasted! I’m Jeviko, your personal burger chef, and I’m bringing the diner classics straight to your home kitchen. We’re stacking thin, crispy beef patties with sweet caramelized onions, gooey melted cheese, and a special tangy secret sauce between toasty slices of rye bread. These hot and melty sandwiches will bring you straight back to the golden days of diners and soda fountains. With my easy step-by-step instructions, you’ll be assembling patty melt perfection in no time flat. Your family will be begging for these better-than-a-restaurant patty melts again and again. Ditch boring burgers and level up your lunches with these over-the-top melty sandwiches of your dreams!

Let’s start with the FAQs:

What makes this sauce so “special”?

The sauce is a creamy, tangy mixture of mayonnaise, ketchup, Dijon mustard, pickle juice, paprika, and garlic powder. The mayonnaise provides a rich, creamy base while the ketchup adds sweetness. The mustard brings tangy spice, the pickle juice provides briny flavor, and the paprika and garlic take it over the top with smoky, savory notes. Combined, these ingredients make an unforgettable special sauce that you’ll want to put on everything!

What type of beef works best?

I prefer using 85% lean ground beef which has just the right amount of fat to keep the burgers nice and juicy after cooking. Burgers made with 95% lean beef can end up dry and dense. The 85% lean provides plenty of beefy flavor while still being lean enough to meet health goals.

Do I really need to caramelize the onions?

Yes, caramelizing the onions is a must for maximum flavor! Slow cooking the onions brings out their natural sugars, resulting in deep sweetness and a jammy texture that perfectly balances the other ingredients. Raw onions would be too harsh. Trust me, take the extra time to caramelize and your mind will be blown!

Can I prep the sauce and onions ahead?

Absolutely! The sauce keeps covered in the fridge for up to 5 days. And the cooked onions keep for 3-4 days stored properly. Getting components ready ahead makes throwing together these patty melts so much easier.

What bread do you recommend?

For me, rye or pumpernickel bread is the best choice. The hearty, robust flavor of these breads stands up well to the juicy patties and other big flavors. Breads like white or wheat get lost. Go for a nice, seeded rye and take these over the top!

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Total Time: 55 minutes
Yield: 4 sandwiches


  • For the Beef Patty:
  • 80/20 ground beef
  • Worcestershire sauce (to taste)
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • Freshly cracked black pepper (to taste)
  • Minced garlic (optional, added into the spread instead in the original description, but can be mixed into the beef for more flavor)
  • For the Spread:
  • Ketchup
  • Relish
  • Smoked paprika
  • Hot sauce
  • Lemon juice
  • Minced garlic (if you prefer it in the spread)
  • For the Sandwich:
  • Thick-sliced bread (preferably a sturdy variety that can hold up to the fillings)
  • Swiss cheese slices
  • American cheese slices
  • Mayonnaise (for spreading on the bread for toasting)
  • Butter (for onions and cooking, if preferred)
  • Onions, sliced and grilled


  • Prepare the Spread:
  • In a bowl, combine ketchup, relish, smoked paprika, hot sauce, lemon juice, and minced garlic (if using). Whisk together and set aside.
  • Prepare the Patty:
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the ground beef with a splash of Worcestershire sauce, kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and minced garlic (if you’re not adding it to the spread). Mix gently to combine without overworking the meat to keep the patty tender.
  • Form into patties that match the size of your bread slices.
  • Cook the Patty:
  • Heat your griddle or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, cook the patties to your preferred doneness, pressing them slightly for good surface contact. Set aside when done.
  • Grill the Onions:
  • In the same pan or on a separate part of the griddle, melt a bit of butter (if using) and add the sliced onions. Grill until they’re caramelized and golden brown. Remove and set aside.
  • Toast the Bread:
  • Spread mayonnaise (a tip from the recipe for a crispy exterior) on one side of each bread slice. Place mayo-side-down on the griddle or skillet to toast to golden perfection. You can spread mayo on the other side before flipping if you prefer both sides toasted.
  • Assemble the Patty Melt:
  • On one slice of toasted bread, spread a generous amount of the prepared spread. Add a layer of Swiss cheese, the beef patty, grilled onions, and a slice of American cheese. Top with another slice of toasted bread, spread side down.
  • If desired, you can place the assembled sandwich back on the griddle for a few seconds to ensure the cheese is melted to perfection.
  • Serve:
  • Cut the patty melt in half and serve hot. Enjoy your upgraded, cheesy, and utterly delicious patty melt!
  • The host emphasizes the quality of ingredients and the joy of cooking, encouraging personal tweaks to suit individual tastes. Enjoy making and indulging in this upgraded patty melt!

Cooking tips:

  • Use high-quality ingredients. Splurge on thick-cut artisan bread, aged cheddar cheese, and freshly ground chuck for maximum flavor.
  • Take the onions slow and low. Cook them gently so they caramelize instead of just sweating. Sweet, jammy onions make all the difference.
  • Weigh out the patties. Forming consistent 6 oz patties ensures everything stacks up perfectly between the bread slices.
  • Toast the bread in the beef fat. Spreading mayo on the outside makes it extra crispy and delicious.
  • Spread it on thick. Don’t skimp on the zesty homemade spread – it adds a tangy flavor punch.
  • Melt the cheese twice. Quickly grill the finished sandwich to melt the cheese into gooey perfection.

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